Topic Modeling and Analysis: Comparing the Most Common Topics in 19th-Century Novels Written by Female Writers


Women authors from the 19th-century have had a profound impact on the literary world due to their critical approach to and inclusion of various social phenomena within their work, such as women's rights, sexuality, and human psychology. This paper seeks to contribute to the discussion by quantifying thematic similarities in eight select novels by various female authors of the 19th-century. These novels were chosen due to their contribution to literature and their popularity, common use in college courses around the world, and the prominence of the female authors. This study included utilizing a programming environment known as R Studio to perform a topic model. Performing a topic model allowed for the discernment of ten main themes or topics that can be generally seen across all eight selected novels, and by extension, 19th-century literature by female authors. The research found initial evidence to support the general understanding of said literature as an endeavor of the themes of social critique and individual consciousness; however, the results were not absolute in conclusion because of the limited size of the corpus. A larger corpus of documents (novels) is necessary to reach further conclusions.
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